Nukemarine's Suggested Guide for Beginners

Well, just for completeness sake, I redid the "RTK 1 and 3 w/ Kanji Definition and Yomi" file on Anki download.

It now has more fields for: Joyo Kun, Joyo On (marked with asterisks to denote rare readings), Frequency Number, Kanken Number, RTK2 Number, 2001KO Number, English Primitives and Japanese Primitives.

Plus, I added tags to help with sorting and suspending. Example: Suspend all cards, show cards with tags "2001KO_1", unsuspend those. Now only these cards will show up in RTK order.

Thanks again to Khatsuo for posting outstanding spreadsheets so that one can create detailed flashcards.

I agree that importing spreadsheets is easy after the first time. However, a strong impression is made the first time someone sets up a program. I've recommended the program to several people, yet the only person who has actually set it up alone is my brother. He majors in computer science. Everyone else just gave up until I helped them out.

I won't go into a in-depth discussion of Anki's GUI, but will highlight some difficulties that may arise from even a simple tutorial like the one you proposed.

Asriel Wrote:1. Create New Deck
2. Look at spreadsheet, each column is a "field," so make a Card Model with all those fields
3. Go to "Import," Select spreadsheet. Set up the "fields" to align correctly (ie. Sentence -> Sentence, instead of Sentence -> Audio. Should be simple)
4. Study.
You say that "The only confusing parts are steps 2 and 3," which is exactly correct. Step 2 instructs to "make a Card Model with all those fields," which I think would go completely over the head of a complete newbie. What's a Card Model? How do I make it? How do I put the fields in the Card Model? Even finding the name for a field might pose a problem for someone new. Similar problems are posed by Step 3. Being unfamiliar with the terms is an obstacle to setting up that first deck. Likewise, a simple instruction that is easy for an Anki veteran can be a puzzle for the novice.

Again, sorry to derail the thread. However, I think this discussion may eventually become helpful to actual beginners who are having difficulties with Anki. Who knows, it may even lead to a step-by-step tutorial on how to import Nukemarine's spreadsheets into Anki...
Edited: 2010-04-10, 12:23 pm
Actually, this brings up a great point. Seeing that beginners will not just be beginners at Japanese but at using Anki as well, I need to do some hand holding early on even for the pre-generated decks.

Although I won't do a step by step about importing spreadsheets (that can be later), I offered a detailed step by step on downloading and setting up the first 555 kanji of the RTK 1 and 3 deck on Anki servers.

PS: What would be a great "Beginner" subs2srs deck? I'll take suggestions then try to upload one for this "course" seeing that subs2srs is also a tricky program to master at first. I'm leaning toward Tomahane myself seeing as it's a show about writing Kanji (well, shoudo to be more precise).
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as a complete newb to anki (and not having touched a spreadsheet in years) prior to yesterday, these are the things that i struggled with

1. encoding problems. Excel wasn't allowing me to save CSV files out as UTF-8, and i was having issues with ',' delimited data, so i had to download open office and use their "excel" app to export the data to a CSV with tabs as the delimiter.

2. importing my stories. comma-separated data, along with data that has line breaks in it, causes a lot of issues, and required a lot of cleaning of my data before i could successfully get it to import into anki. The cleaning was also a pain, since excel doesn't easily show line breaks in long sentences in a field, so i had to open it in a plain text editor and write down which keywords had stories with line breaks. I couldn't even edit the file in my plain text editor because the encoding in the editor was messed up and was only showing ??? for the japanese characters. creating a workable spreadsheet and importing it into Anki quickly became a multi-hour affair for me.

Once i got my story data to open properly in excel and it was all cleaned of line breaks, i sorted my stories by RTK_ID and then the main deck spreadsheet by RTK_ID, so that i could just copy/paste a range of cells from one to the other. Then for stories that were not in the sequence (other randomly added kanji that were in my RevTK SRS) i just manually copied and pasted the stories over to the main deck spreadsheet into the last column. Then i saved it as an excel file, opened it in open-office, saved it out as a CSV with tab separators, and only then was i finally able to import it properly.

3. Of course, that isn't the end. Once i successfully tagged all the 2001KO cards by group, I suspended everything except 2001KO group1 and any additional cards i already had created stories for. Upon starting a review session just to see how it would look, i quickly realized i was missing Rikai-chan for quick dictionary lookups of additional keywords (which i found useful), along with stroke orders for the kanji (which i had setup to show on RevTK using a registry trick i found on the boards).

Of course, both of these things are fixable, but they take time to fix and you have to sit and read the help files on how to do it. For the keyword lookups, i found that there is a plugin that you can use to show that information. For the stroke orders, i found the easiest solution to be to go to "Settings" -> "Fonts and Colors..." and switch to the fields tab, where i was able to change the font of the "Kanji" field to "KanjiStrokeOrders"

In addition to these last changes, i also went into "Settings" -> "Preferences" and unchecked both "Show next time before answer" and "Show due count and progress during review"

After ALL THAT HAS BEEN DONE, i finally feel that my Anki is setup the way it needs to be, and i am happy with the results

[Image: 30sx1fq.jpg]
long story short is this: no matter if someone builds a deck for you and shows you how to download it and configure the cards you should be reviewing, if you were already using RevTK and want to switch to a standalone SRS, you will either have to learn how to merge the RevTK story data with the deck data or you will have to enter your stories by hand. Entering them by hand would suck, and merging the data definitely sucks. There does not currently seem to be any easy way around it, and unless you're really lucky, nobody is going to do it for you.

I even tried a few different tricks people had posted to merge the data with my existing deck, including the Overwrite plugin from anki, but it was all just fail for various reasons. Not to mention, most of these tricks involve editing code and reading debug messages...

The funny thing is, i'm a developer, i'm just freaking lazy. I didn't want to have to go through all this trouble to move from RevTK to Anki, and i despaired about it a great deal before actually accepting that it was necessary and taking the time to learn how to do it. The only saving grace is that i only had to do it once \o/

Conclusion: working with Anki, tinkering with spreadsheets, reading plugin code, encoding problems, application incompatibilities, and a very daunting Anki interface all lend toward me not recommending the novice computer user to attempt such things. The RevTK system is functional and easy, whereas taking matters into your own hands opens a pandoras box of potential issues waiting to eat your hours.
Edited: 2010-04-10, 3:57 pm

Now I'm totally new to anki and these decks but I think I've got this moving...

I've no need for the kana & kanji, done them. So I'm starting with nuke's Tae Kim - Basic (Clozed Delete) and Core 2k step 1&2 sorted. Both decks downloaded, suspended all cards on both, filtered Tae Kim to just those tagged Basic.

So now

1. What sort order do I use for each deck?


2. Do I un-suspend all (after filtering) and let anki add new cards each day, or do I just un-suspend for example the Tae Kim Grammer as I learn it from the guide? Or is this down to personal choice?

3. Err, what's clozed delete?

Thanks Wink
cloze deletion:
basically it's when you have a sentence as context and you replace the word or phrase you are trying to remember with [...] and put it on the answer side of the card

Regarding what order to do Core2k in. the Core2k deck is already presorted for optimal use from the beginning, at least that's what the description in the downloads section leads me to believe

Deck Description Wrote:Using Smart.FM Core 2k Steps 1 and 2, organized via 2001.Kanji.Odyssey kanji order, and sorted using Cangy's program. This detailed deck is designed so each new card contains the minimum amount of new kanji (and by proxy new words) creating an optimal i+1 learning environment.
Please take a look at the new screencasts - they cover editing models, cloze deletions and more.
torida Wrote:2. Do I un-suspend all (after filtering) and let anki add new cards each day, or do I just un-suspend for example the Tae Kim Grammer as I learn it from the guide? Or is this down to personal choice?
The sentence should introduce themselves in order, so there's no need to suspend anything. The decks for grammar and vocabulary are both normally set up to review older cards first then introduce new cards.

torida Wrote:3. Err, what's clozed delete?
Quick card making tool where you take a sentence and "cloze" the part you want to test. In anki, this is easy as highlight the part you want to test then pressing the "cloze" button In addition, you can adds notes to the clozed part to help you determine what answer is being looked for. For the grammar cards, I clozed the part usually dealing with conjugation. On the vocabulary cards, I clozed the conjugated portion of the verb (ie the kana portion) to help train to distinguish and memorize active and passive forms of verbs.
Got it! Thanks everyone!
I use for Japanese subtitles. It's good if you like anime. Dramanote is better if you like drama.
jcdietz03 Wrote:I use for Japanese subtitles. It's good if you like anime. Dramanote is better if you like drama.
Oh wow. They've got all the new fullmetal alchemist. That's tempting all in itself. Thanks for the reminder of that site!

Thought this might be a handy step by step for complete noobs to Anki who came to this thread without knowing how to use it (like me!).

As I'd already done kana & kanji without Anki, I started Nuke's guide with these:
Quote:Beginner - JLPT 4 equivalent level

Tae Kim - Basic
Core 2k step 1&2 sorted
Same process would apply to setting up the kanji deck I'm sure.

Here goes...

1. Download Anki (here or use Nuke's links) and install it.
Install Japanese Support as explained here .

2. Start Anki up and click 'Download' bottom left. Search "Tae Kim" and choose Nuke's 'Clozed Delete' version — decks by Nuke have 'Uploader: nukemarine@...' in the notes in the bottom pane. Read the notes, then click OK.

3. Hit 'Close' (Blue/White window icon rightmost in the toolbar) and you'll be back at the first window, you can go in and out of your decks from here by clicking 'Open' next to each deck. But for now click 'Download' again and search "Core 2k/6k", choose the Beginner deck, read the notes, click OK.

(If you want the kanji deck search for 'RTK 1 and 3'. See Nuke's original post **Note about the RTK Anki deck. Don't think Nuke's finished the kana deck as of this post?)

4. Right, now to start studying. We'll use the Tae Kim deck as an example. Close the Core 2k/6k deck and open the Tae Kim deck (you're in the deck if you see 'Study Options'). Click the Browse icon above (magnifying glass) to go to the browser.

Here is where you study the cards, so learn the first few, reading along with Tae Kim's Grammer Guide on the website . First select a card in the top half of the window, then read its details in the bottom half (you can drag the midpoint up to resize if you can't see everything).

(Here is also where you can later edit the deck, suspend cards etc. should you need to).

Close the browser.

5. You should be on Study Options again. Unlike this website, Anki adds cards automatically every day, you can set how many it adds here to match your study pace.

6. To start reviewing the deck, click 'Start Reviewing'.

Wink Off you go...

Refer to Nuke's excellent original post regarding studying methods. Beginner Grammar:/Beginner Vocabulary:... etc.

Hope this helps!



If you're not seeing japanese characters in Anki's browser you need Japanese language support installed in your OS. On windows goto Control Panel > Regional and Language options > Languages tab > Click Install files for East Asian languages and hit 'Apply'. You'll likely need the Windows Installation CD.

If you want to type japanese you need an IME. For windows IME goto Control Panel > Regional and Language options > Languages tab > Details and add a japanese keyboard. Or you could try Google IME.

And if you want to make your own decks this is worth a read:
Edited: 2010-06-05, 9:25 am

I've found this thread incredibly helpful. Thanks to nukemarine and everyone who has contributed.

My question is, as a n00b I seem to be spending too much time studying Tae Kim's guide. It's very dense and has been taking me (at least in my opinion) far too long to get through it. Im just wondering how others have managed to use the guide. It is a very effective tool I'm just looking for a more effective way of getting through it in a timely manner as it seems to be holding me back from starting other (more fun Wink ) methods of study.

Any thoughts on this?
@dusmar84: Personally I used Tae Kim by reading through it just enough to get it (without remembering it necessarily) and I put all the example sentences in Anki as I went. The SRS process took care of cementing the correct usage examples into my memory. Just read it so that you understand what he's talking about, then start exposing yourself to material which actually uses the grammar. Very soon it will make sense - you'll start hearing all the constructions all the time.

edit: by "exposing yourself to material" I mean "watching, reading, listening to..." not "taking off your clothes to..."
Edited: 2010-05-05, 5:37 am
Blahah Wrote:edit: by "exposing yourself to material" I mean "watching, reading, listening to..." not "taking off your clothes to..."
Well that explains why it's been two years and I've yet to make any real progress save for my criminal record. Thanks but no thanks, words with multiple meanings.
are you 'avin a laugh? are you 'avin a laugh? (doing my best ricky gervais impression)

yea, i'll try what you said Blahah and pick up my pace a little more and spend more time on the srsing.

Thanks mate
dusmar84 Wrote:are you 'avin a laugh? are you 'avin a laugh?

I'll be serious for a second, and take the time to echo what Blahah said. I'm using Nuke's pre-made Tae Kim deck for the grammar, since I'm all about the cloze delete, but I'm far too lazy to set it up by myself. I'll read a section of the guide until I feel like I understand it fairly well -- not perfectly, but good enough -- and then switch over to Anki to review what I just learned. Once I get to an example sentence I haven't seen yet, I switch back over to the guide and study some more. Then I just repeat until I've done my 50 cards for the day, though I'm liable to do a few extra just so I can finish up whatever section I was studying. If I fail a card, I'll skim the section it's from for a quick refresher.

I don't always to 50 cards, by the way it's just a goal. Sometimes I do less, and there was a period of about a week where I got bored of grammar and just studied vocabulary instead. I always keep up with my reviews, though.

It's going good so far, It's been less than a month, and I'm almost halfway done with the deck. It seems like I see the grammar popping up everywhere as soon as I learn it.
So I've downloaded Nuke's Core Beginner Deck and the two separate audio files off mediafire but now how do I merge these all together? I've scoured this thread but couldn't find how to do it.
So you can open up the deck in Anki, but the audio doesn't play, correct? What you want to do is to put all the audio files from both the sentence and vocab and put them in one folder. Then rename the folder to the exact name of the deck. So you have the deck, copy the name of the deck, and make that the name of the folder, and put ".media" at the end. Example:

The deck file is "Nukemarine.anki"
Put all of the audio files in one folder, and rename the folder ""
i'd like to personally add this to the beginner's guide:
Hashiriya Wrote:i'd like to personally add this to the beginner's guide:
Why do I keep forgetting about that? I meant to go back and study there more.

I need to be more organized. Sad
Wow, that erin site (or whatever it's called) is neat! I'm going to spend some time there.
**Note: I think it's better write parts of the guide throughout this thread and link to it from the first post. Keeps the first post shorter. I'll also link to useful posts from others**

Study/Review Tips Beginner Level

At this level, I recommend writing and typing during reviews. Unfortunately this increases study time, but does train an aspect that's not touched upon. In time (higher levels) this is scaled back in favor of increasing items being tested.

Beginner AJATT Tips: At this level, there are a number of basic things you can do. Find some Japanese music you like. Watch anime/dramas at least once with English subtitles and try to watch them again with Japanese subtitles only after that. Strip audio from dramas and break them into smaller clips to play on your iPod.

You don't have to expunge English from your life. You're just finding stuff you like in Japanese. Let it naturally happen. Also, none of this counts as study time. Watching all of Samurai Champoo in one day is just 13 hours of pure fun.

Beginner Kanji/Kana: I liked the Kana approach in Remembering the Kana. This spreadsheet for Reviewing the Kana is not complete yet, but it should be done soon. In addition I'll post an Anki deck based on it soon. Learn kana in 6 hours. Since the next step takes 50 hours, here's an idea to help retain this learning: In the book, Heisig gives sample words to write out in each portion. Add each word as it's own Anki card then write them out testing Romaji to Kana (the ONLY time you'll use romaji in this). When you complete the Kanji step next and move onto actual Grammar and Vocabulary then these Kana reviews can stop. Reason being you'll be reading and writing a lot of kana that reviewing will be a waste of time.

The first 555 kanji can take 30 to 50 hours. I recommend using Anki with the RTK deck I posted titles "RTK 1 and 3 w/ Kanji Definition and Yomi". Main reason is it has not just the keyword, but other words to help better explain the actual meaning of the kanji. This deck is set up to do both Keyword (and concept) to Kanji and also Kanji to Concept. At this level when studying new Kanji, imagine the story then write out the kanji while imagining the story. When reviewing, I recommend writing out the kanji when a Keyword to Kanji card pops up in addition to writing out missed cards from Kanji to Concept cards.

Yes, you'll be writing down these kanji alot. Don't mark wrong for proportions but don't be afraid to rewrite it to make it look better.

**Note about the RTK Anki deck: To download, click on File->Download->"Shared Deck"; In the search bar type in "RTK 1 and 3" and click on the file I uploaded; Click OK to download.

To do Beginner Kanji RTK Lite Suspend all cards but the cards with the tag: "2001KO_1". This is done by click on the magnify glass (browse items); click on edit "select all"; click on the pause button (toggle suspend); click on tab by "filter" and select "2001KO_1"; again click on edit "select all" (make sure 1110 selected shows at the top of the window on the blue bar); again click on the pause button to unsuspend these cards**

Beginner Grammar: There are about 150 sentences being used here and could take 20 to 30 hours. Although I posted an Anki deck, I'll load up another one called "Tae Kim Clozed Delete". I'll recommend this deck as it's mainly a recognition deck but there's a small bit of production when it comes to aspects of the grammar being tested. At this beginning level, I recommend writing out sentences when you first study them. Ensure you're reading the chapters from Tae Kim's site for further explanation. When reviewing, type out the sentences as the deck is set up that way. This creates good training for the IME of your choice (don't mark cards wrong for this though).

Don't be afraid to add definitions to the cards to help out. Remember, it's mainly about grammar, not vocabulary or kanji. Not properly conjugating a clozed item or not understanding the meaning of the sentence should be a miss.

Beginner Vocabulary: These are 400 words/sentences and can take 30 to 40 hours. There's an Anki deck that can be downloaded if you look for "Core 2k/6k Japanese Vocabulary" in Anki's download in the file menu. The idea is use Cangy's sorting program on Core 2k's vocabulary corpus using 2001KO order. Here I think it's safe to go Dictation which is kana to kanji. When studying NEW cards, write out the word in Kanji, the word in kana, and then the entire sentence in Kanji. When reviewing, just write out only the word being tested. Mark cards wrong if you don't know what the word means or if you can't write it out. Each time your review, read out the entire sentence and try to mimic the announcer.

In addition, in the deck posted I made clozed deleted cards for the verbs. These cards you're being tested by properly conjugating the word based on the sentence context. So I cloze deleted the kana part after the kanji of the verb. It can be up to you to continue this for later verbs. The main reason for this is to train your ability to remember the passive and active forms of verbs in addition to getting conjugation practice.

NOTE: The Beginner vocabulary first 275 sentence entries uses kanji in the RTK Ultralite list (2k1 book 1). Entries up until sentence 362 uses Book 1 and 2. Finally, Book 1, 2 and 3 fill up until 396. Those last four sentences have kanji that are not in the 2001ko list.

You have a few options: 1: Suspend them for later. 2: Put the kana for the words in paranthesis beside it in the sentence and vocabulary entry. 3: Learn the kanji needed then do them. It's probably best this early to put the kana version of the word in paranthesis.

Example for Sentence 400, there kanji for knee is not taught in 2KO, so I put the kana for it in paranthesis:

subs2srs: This step is variable, but can take 10 to 20 hours to "process" a 1 hour show. Here you have to decide on a show to use. It should be considered easy but fun. There's a list made by IceCream where a show called "My Girl" fits this category.

Now, this gets tricky as I'm basing this on my experience with subs2srs last summer and the results. This is not about training kanji, vocabulary or grammar. This is about creating 1 hour of understandable audio you can listen to later ie 14 segments of 3m 30s audio playing on random. This happens by breaking the show down sentence by sentence and testing your comprehension of each sentence. That in turn allows your mind to better comprehend full dialogue happening in your listening of the segments.

As this is an early level, just do the following: Use Japanese and English subtitles. Study the sentences in order. When you're studying a new sentence, look up new words in a J-E dictionary and use the English subtitles to get a full understanding of the Japanese sentence. When reviewing, you're training your ability to understand the sentence by seeing the picture (or video if you did that), hearing the audio and reading the sentence all in Japanese. Mark a card wrong when you don't understand a word in the sentence or the meaning of the entire sentence. In addition, speak out the entire sentence twice and try to mimic the voice of the speaker.

In anki, set your "Leech" threshold very low. I put mine at 4. When a card is a leech, just leave it suspended and delete it later.
Edited: 2010-09-23, 3:25 am
Good advice, I agree with Nukermarine. Write your reviews in the beginning. The skill to write effects you when you get to the higher levels in japanese.